Friday, February 27, 2015

Seattle

Should I try again for something more positive? This week, I'm on the west coast. I started in Berkeley on Friday for my dad's birthday.  Then I came up to Seattle and I'll go back to DC on Sunday. I've actually been working the whole week in Seattle, up to and over six hours a week. Yep, that's my job! I did this last summer and it worked out pretty well. Seemed to help me get along with Mom and structured my time. It means I don't get to do as much exploring/reminiscing around town but that's ok.  I am seeing the two friends I always see and thinking about all the old friends I never see.  Today, I walked from Mom's house to the U-district. Sitting in a coffee shop and thinking about working but maybe I just won't work. I haven't decided. Maybe I do need to take at least one work day off on this so-called vacation.  I don't even know how much leave I have. Almost none after my December actual vacation...but they'll let me go in the hole, so I can't complain.

It's raining lightly but I have a decent coat that kept me dry on my half hour walk this morning. I'm maybe half a mile from campus, which is my next stop. I'm feeling kind of lazy and kind of ready to be home.  Funny how that works.  Why does being around your own stuff make such a difference? I have to say, I rather enjoy the limited wardrobe travel imposes. So many fewer decisions to make. I've been reading about famous people's self-created uniforms (think Steve Jobs). I love that idea but in the professional world, it's a bit harder to pull off unless you own the company. Then again, I'm almost on my way, as I only have two pairs of work pants at the moment. I'm also trying not to buy any new clothing...maybe for the rest of the year? So that leaves me with a limited, but still large, set of choices. I'd love to give away about half my closet, but gearing up for that decision is also tiring. I like the idea to simplify the day by reducing choices. I do have a set breakfast these days, and that does make life easier. I cook more and bring that for lunch, also easier. Eating out for lunch is now a treat and not a chore. Also on this trip, I started up my morning exercise routine again, taking advantage of my early waking times. I am not purposefully staying on east coast time but I'm not trying to adjust to the west coast either. I'm sure I'll still be a mess the first week I'm back, but maybe I can keep on the exercise thing. It does make me feel better and that would help with the cheering up, right?

Ok, time for the second walk of the day!

Grateful for: Seattle.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Timing

I'm back at my coffee shop, which isn't a coffe shop at all. It's Union Market and I got here a bit too late to easily find a table...but I did eventually suceed. I want to put something a little happier out in the universe after my last post, but what can I say, I am finding dating very discouraging. I keep meeting people online who seem ok, and then in real life, it's a total bust. Two weeks ago I had a date that went pretty well, but when he never called again, I was more relieved than disappointed. Last week, I had a date that went poorly and I was relieved when it was over. Today, I was supposed to have a date--first he delayed and then he canceled. So annoying. Maybe I will have a date with a different guy tonight and possibly a third guy tomorrow. Both of those are probably dates I shouldn't have made because the guys are too young for anything long term. I've been open to other things but I wonder if that's why I'm so disatisfied now. I don't want a date or two or three here and there. I want one relationship with one person to last a long time. People do it all the time and even people at my age seem to manage it anew, so I'm going to try and stay hopeful and positive rather than needy and pessimistic. Yeah, good luck with that.

Work is also pretty frustrating at the moment. I keep butting heads with "Laura." She is the woman who used to be the project manager for the project I now manage. It's clearer and clearer to me that she's in an impossible position and nothing we do is going to make it easy for her to continue on the project. I'm almost 100% sure that she has to go...but how can I help her exit gracefully? She is already pissed at me...and I'm not very happy with her either. I understand that she wants autonomy--been there!--but that is a bit different than me only having the most general idea of what she's up to. This has to change, I've asked for transparency, but she continues to resist and undermine my ability to manage the project. I'm not sure what the next steps are but I'm working on it.

The real problem with all of this is that I'm back in the same situation as I was in my old job. My work is consuming, and my personal life is kind of a bore. At least a lot of work is actually intersting now--but this personal/personnel issue is starting to overwhelm everything else. I'm getting stressed out and feeling more and more on edge. It's not good, it's not healthy and it has to stop. Man, I really wish I had a boyfriend. Sigh.

Well, total fail on the cheerfulness front! Guess I'll move on to the next exciting part of my day--cleaning the house. Hooray.

Grateful for: a good job and a decent place to live.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Just another weekend

Back to a coffee shop routine. I managed to make it out this Sunday morning before the real crowds showed up. I'll head home soon too so I can finish my laundry and do a little knitting before our condo work afternoon. That's right, I actually corralled my condo-mates into committing two hours to clean up our back yard. This was prompted by our very annoying absentee neighbor's email about how messy things were. This is the guy who is renting out his unit. He also suggested that we revise the parking assignments becasue the people I rent my second space to are blocking everyone else in. Except I haven't rented out my second space since November. Don't let the facts get in the way of your chiding, asshole.

Anyway, that's all good. Work is all good. Friday, I went to an interesting talk and had dinner with friends. Yesterday, I slept late, watched stupid movies, read, and knit. Late afternoon, I went grocery shopping and cooked dinner. Even later, I saw a guy. This is a guy who I've been out with before but it was a while ago and we just reconnected. I steer away from certain kinds of details on the blog since I'm not completely anonymous, but I am so annoyed at him. I just want to know when a particular intimate activity became something that wasn't considered "vanilla." I have noticed that how people define "vanilla" varies wildly. The use of that term is kind of a new thing too (like the expectation of no hair anywhere). Many years ago, I remember having a conversation with Audrey about what was considered "kinky." We decided that "in these modern times" even anal sex was only borderline kinky, though obviously not to everyone's taste. That meant that most varients of intercourse and oral activities weren't kinky--and if something isn't kinky, it's vanilla, right? Well, this guy who I saw yesterday seemed to think that only manual activities and intercourse are vanilla. He even said, "I'm pretty normal and conservative about this stuff. A lot of guys aren't into it." You know what "it" is now, right? I just...I don't know what to say to someone like that. Ok, I do know what to say, which was, "A lot of guys ARE into it. It's pretty important."

I've recently read a couple of romance novels...I know, it's so not me! But the quality of the writing is acceptable and they're...romantic...and a little sexy. Some of the situations are anachronistic, but it's still fun. These are historical romances and it's a little hard to believe the amount of oral action these 19th century ladies are getting...but I kind of wanted to make him read these books. This is the core of these books--how exciting and pleasurable that activity is...that entire books put the emphasis there instead of on intercourse. I know some women say they're not into it, but my (overly judgemental?) opinion of those women is that they're not in touch with their sexuality, which is unfortunate. I understand how that can happen. It's hard to let go and enjoy yourself. Sex in general leaves one feeling very emotionally open and that's hard for a lot of people. But c'mon--it's a whole trope in discussions men have (or the ones on tv, movies, and jokes) about how they want oral sex. It is so weird to acknowledge that women want it too? If you're not willing to even try to give your partner what they want, you are a lousy lover. Anyway, I was super frustrated with him and his line of non-reasoning. I really need to find some different guys! Where are they hiding? I'm finding guys, but they're just all wrong for me--and, not very right for anyone at all, as far as I can tell.

Did I go too far or just far enough? Sigh.

Anyway, here's a knitting pic. I went up to NY/NJ last weekend. I gave my niece the socks she asked for last year. She put them on immediately and didn't take them off all day. That's just about the highest praise a knitter can get. My SIL also sent me home with a commission for stranded mittens. That will be fun.

It would be so great if you could tell me I'm not crazy, but I'll keep my expectations low.

Grateful for: generous lovers.

 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New York

I am on the road--or more accurately the train--to New York. This trip actually starts in Manhattan. I'll roam around on my own this afternoon, meet my Uncle for dinner, meet a friend for a drink (probably), then head to NJ to see my brother and his family. The key was to pack light. I think I have succeeded but we'll see how "effective" my choices were by the end of thIe day. I have only one bag. The cool canvas backpack I got for work. It's pretty spacious and inside that bag I have a packing cube with an extra shirt, undershirt, underwear (2 pair), socks (1 pair), minimal toiletries (brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, moisturizer), socks for my niece, and a couple of other things. Then I have all the stuff I normally carry in a smaller bag--pens, tissue, lotion, etc. Then I have a shoulder bag where I put my wallet and knitting in case I need to "decant" the larger bag, possibly to make room for yarn. My uncle got me a gift certificate to a NY knitting store. I am going to visit there and see what I can see. I don't have a strong need for yarn right now--I just bought a ton for projects for nieces. But maybe I'll find something for me? I'm not going to "force" myself to buy anything.

I don't want it to sound like a hardship--the idea of buying things--but it sort of is. Having this money--and the money I earn myself--is a huge privilege. But it's kind of a burden and everything just seems to collect, collect, collect. I am getting to the point where I'm ready to jettison some of my handknits. I had thought about bringing a whole pile of them with me on this trip, but the light packing precludes that. Still, I do feel a kind of weight of all my possesions. Things I don't need and don't use that just take up space. Yarn isn't in that category--I need it because knitting is my hobby and a great source of happiness and accomplishment. But all those trousers I'll never wear again? The many bags? I dunno. Some of it needs to go and probably soon. Maybe I'll do a real spring cleaning/clear-out this year.

Work is good. It took me a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of it, but now I feel good and confident. I have more supervisory responsibility and I'm looking forward to it. Could it be that I will like being supervisor? Who knew?

Dating is blah. I'm sure I'll come around to it soon enough but right now the guys in the queue are so not interesting. But you never know about that either.

Grateful for: a weekend away.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Weekend

Another lonely weekend. Ok, not true. Another weekend without any plans with other people. I have plans for myself--grocery shopping, cleaning the house (a little), knitting, consuming media. Should I go to the movies? Should I take myself out for a drink later? I wonder why I never/rarely have plans on a Saturday night. I don't feel bad--I'm not sad or lonely--but it does seem odd that this is so normal for me these days. Maybe I'm just not that sociable? This week, I was able to go back to knitting group for the first time in almost a month and I was really looking forward to it. It felt so good to be around a group of companionable people. I told some stories, I listened to some stories. The group keeps shifting so each time the mix and dynamic is a bit different but usually it's good and friendly. We haven't had any awkward moments for years.

I did have a "date" on Thursday. A quick drink with a guy who I first met online years ago who randomly contacted me earlier in the day. In fact, he'd mistaken me for someone else. He was embarrassed; I was amused. We decided to meet. He didn't have much time but I enjoyed meeting him and he was quite good looking and interesting. He's not boyfriend material (you have to trust me on that), but he might be somebody I could spend some time with. I'm also planning a date with another guy for next week.

Here's the thing--all of these dates are during the week. A lower committment, less meaningful time. And maybe these guys have weekend plans...I mean, I do too, sometimes. For example, I'm going out of town next weekend. So there!

I am also slowly stepping up my fitness. Goodness it's a slow process. I let go a lot in November and December. I think I'll keep my slow and steady pace through January and maybe try the jogging thing again in February. I've never liked running, but now I kind of miss it! What is that about?

What else? I've been really good about the cooking thing. I know I can't keep it up forever--the question is, when I slip, how long will it take me to get back on the bandwagon? The other problem is that I don't like a lot of recipes from the service I'm paying for. They're ok but not great. I don't know what to do about that.

What about a picture? Here's a scarf I'm knitting at my niece's request. This is kind of a funny story. I was in Israel, I was talking to my niece. She mentioned the scarf I knit for her about six years ago--at that time, I made a scarf for everyone in the family--well all of the girls. I later made a scarf for B2 (brother in Israel) and one of my nephews-in-law at his wife's (my niece's) request. So a different niece says, "Remember that scarf you made me? My husband really likes wearing it!" Short pause. I said, "So...does that mean you need a new scarf?" She smiled and said yes. I kind of love that. So we talked about the color etc. The next day, I saw her again. She says, "I told my husband you were going to knit me a new scarf and he said he'd like a new scarf too!" Ha ha! She's lucky that she's my favorite (ok, not really--but her husband is a great guy and he might actually be my favorite of the three husbands so far). He liked the color of the yarn I used for the hedgehog for their infant son. When I got back to the US, I went searching online and the yarn below is what I'm using for one of their scarves. My niece likes this color too...but I decided not to make two scarves from the same yarn.


This is the yarn for the second scarf. They can decide amongst themselves which belongs to whom. Or maybe they'll just share!


Here's a sweater I knit over a year ago, but I did some repairs to. I just added that ribbon and new snaps. I'd used the press-on snaps and they damaged the yarn. You can't see it in this pic, but I also added about three inches to the sleeves. So much better now.


At least it's a good time for knitting!

Happy weekending.

Grateful for: time for myself.

 

 

 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Resolutions

As a rule, I don't make New Year's resolutions. I do sometimes contemplate them. For example, I thought I would try and blog every day. Just put up a picture, a quick word, something. But I never follow through on things like that. I chafe when put that kind of pressure on myself. I'm less likely to do the thing I want. This is kind of a resolution--to do more cooking at home. I had a phase of it this spring but my summer and fall traveling messed up the routine. Now that I'm back from my long vacation and getting into my daily routine again, I've managed to cook for a full week. (A funny thing--as much as I like to travel, it really messes me up at home and at work--I take forever to get back to normal.) I have most of the ingriedients for next week's dinners too. I'm using one of those meal planning services and that seems to do the trick. I get a menu of four meals every week. I chose two last week and two this week. Then I make extra and I get some lunches and dinners out of it. I still eat out a couple of meals, but much less than before. And much fewer frozen meals--which are decent tasting these days but wasteful (packaging) and expensive for what you get. Plus I feel like a stupid kid eating that stuff when I know how to cook. Sure, it's a drag cooking for one--but you get lots of left overs, which I don't mind eating at all. I am not naming the menu service--maybe I will later--because I don't love the recipes. They're ok, but often something is just a little off. A sauce that's a touch too sweet or that ends up too soupy. Mostly the flavors are good, but I have to do a little more improvising to get things right. And the prep instructions are terrible! The owner of the site has these sweet little prep videos, but her technique isn't great. I would like a lot more written instructions on exactly how things are meant to be prepped (diced, chopped, etc.). But, the genius of the thing is that someone else decides on the menu. That really is the hardest part! The site also has gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options. I'm trying out the paleo versions and I actually like them a lot better than the "regular" style--which usually have lots of rice and noodles, which I'm fine with skipping. I also have a regular breakfast I'm eating now, which I don't seem to get bored of, so that's a third of the day right there (blueberries and/or granola with yogurt). I'm even making coffee at home most days. Not every day. None of this is to save money, but to make eating more enjoyable and a bit more under my control. Enough of that.

I knit my mother a nice pair of socks that I finished just in time for her birthday. She was pleased with the socks but not so happy with me. I went off on that long vacation to see family--but not to see her. And I didn't call her while I was away. And I guess I waited too long to call her after I got back. And it was her birthday, which is on January 1 and usually not a happy day for her. For many years, I made a particular effort to be home in Seatttle for her birthday. I'd find a restaurant open on New Year's Day (not that common) and take her to dinner. Or we'd go for a nice long walk. Or something. But a while ago, I stopped. It didn't work with my job and my life in DC. I always call her, of course, and for a while that was enough, but not this year. Anyway, the socks are nice. Hopefully, she'll forgive me. Our call on her birthday was terrible. She just had nothing to say and I when I started talking (about work--sigh), she cut me off in frustration. I asked questions but she wouldn't be drawn out. I love my mother but she can be difficult. I won't give up.

Last, I did go to a party on NYE and it was fun. First time I've been to a NYE party in a million years. It was at the in-law's of a not very close friend who I know through knitting. I had no expectations other than it would be odd. It was odd. But there was plenty to eat and drink and we danced. Dancing is good. I drove home after two in the morning, but it was fine. No traffic at all. I slept well and had a lazy New Year's Day--though I did manage to take a nice long walk. I also nearly finished knitting a scarf (per request) for Pele. Today, it is done, just in time for her birthday! I'm on a roll. I also came back from Israel with four knitting commissions (two scarves, a pair of socks, and a vest). My nephew's wife is pregnant, so a new hedgehog has to get on the needles. That was kind of funny--this time it wasn't nearly as much fun handing out hedgehogs because all of the recipients were infants. Toddlers are a better audience for stuffed animals.

Random great-nephew with hedgehog:

Grateful for: a more or less happy new year.

 

 

 

 

Monday, December 29, 2014

10th Anniversary

Ten years. TEN YEARS. That's how long ago I started this blog. Kind of hard to believe. I was young once....haha!

I don't have too much to say today. I'm recovering from jet lag and the ends of the cold I picked up overseas. I had a good trip, despite the mild illness. The time with family was exhausting. Was it also a little sad? I sometimes get the feeling that I'm standing still and everyone else is moving on--but that's only true in the sense of husband and children. Things I very much want...still, by other measures, I have a good, full life. Lots of friends, a great place to live, all the material possessions I need, all the ones I desire (including a car, three bikes, tons of clothing, YARN, etc.), and many that are completely superfluous (car?, two of those bikes...).  I don't feel unhappy most of the time. I'm pretty even keeled with the odd ups and downs. Normal, I think.

Per usual, I don't have my New Year's plans settled. I do have a potential party, but haven't decided if I'll go yet--it may not be any fun and I barely know the hosts. I could see a movie in the neighborhood. I could go out to a bar on my own. Or I could skip it and stay home. The party will probably be the way to go, just in attempt to avoid becoming a total shut in.  It's hard to think about it since all I want to do (at 6:30pm!) is sleep. I will fight to stay up to 10pm tonight and then not be able to get out of bed in the morning. I think this week is going to be like that. Oh well.

While I was in Israel, one of my nieces suggested that I should marry Spesh and move to Israel. Pretty funny. What's funnier (maybe) is that she's not the only one who thinks I should get together with Spesh. My friend Alicia suggests it every time I see her. Nancy also agrees. I told Spesh, "My niece thinks I should marry you and move to Israel." He said, "Why would you move to Israel? That doesn't make any sense." I said, "Right. Of course. You should move to the States." He said, "Of course." A fictional marriage to one of my closest friends...that's about as serious as the dating gets around here!

Doubt I'll be writing soon...so I'll wish you a Happy New Year in advance!

Grateful for: my good life.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A sign

A sign in the German Colony neighborhood in Jerusalem, near my apartment.  I like it because of the odd translation. In the US, it would be something like, "Buy Municipal Parking Tickets Here." In the UK, it would be more polite, "If you so desire, municipal parking tickets can be obtained nearby." Heh.

 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jerusalem

I'm afraid the pics didn't come through in the last post, but I'll see what I can do to fix it later. It's all a bit difficult on the iPad.  I wrote the last post while I was in transit to Tel Aviv from Paris. Now I'm in Jerusalem. Similar set up as in years past--I have a nice little flat in Jerusalem right next to Dad and Susan (stepmother). I'm also a bit sick so I've just been sitting in here and watching movies so far today. That's a vacation, right? Since it's Saturday (the Sabbath) there's nothing open anyway. I should still probably go outside at some point since the sun is shining. I did some laundry and I've drunk quite a bit of tea. Dad woke me up around 9am to go back to B2's (brother in Jerusalem!) place but I was so out of it. I didn't think we were planning to leave so early and I was too sick to go running around. Anyway, I'm here at my litte home, laundry on the line, wondering if I should have yet another pastry. I am a bit hungry but I think something more nutritous might be good. Some soup, perhaps? Does this mean I have to take a shower? The horror.

Here's a few pics from Israel so far...

Spesh being interviewed at the fundraising art show for the movement (against the occupation)


Typical Israeli soldier

Hanukah mobile

My last unmarried niece (this pic doesn't do her justice). She's 20 and I can't bear to see her grow up!

Grateful for: time to relax.


London-Paris-Tel Aviv

I've been itching to post yet I haven't. Sometimes I wonder if I've given up the blog without realizing--or acknowledging--it. But, maybe not quite yet! I'm days away from the official ten-year mark, and I won't end things before then.

What I have I been up to? Perhaps the title tipped you off--I'm on vacation. A real one this time. Or I should say, an almost real one. The last couple of days, work seeped in a tiny bit. It hasn't bothered me. I'm not sure why not. Maybe because the interference isn't stressful at all. It's more like...they need me. I'm a sucker for that--always have been. I like to feel needed. I was annoyed too because one of the issues was somthing really minor that my seconds-in-command should've easily been able to handle (interpreting a comment from our client), but they were really failing so I stepped in to tell them what I thought it was about. An email was sent to our client asking for clarification and her answer wasn't helpful at all--mostly because she didn't understand why we were confused. I stepped in again, writing directly to the client and explained that we could interpret her answer in two ways, and which way did she mean? Hopefully, that will be that. The other thing is a memo, the need for which arose the day I was leaving town. That was REALLY stressful. But now that I have a copy of the memo, I read it calmly and can provide some comments and it will all get settled after I get back. As it should. You know, it feels really good to be good at my job. And while I do wish I didn't need to step in, I'm also not that fussed about it. Besides, "need" is a relative term. This would all get handled without me. Maybe not quite as well, but well enough. More than adequately, I suppose. Ha ha! Am I vain or what?

More interesting, perhaps, are my travels. First, to London (well, a town 45 minutes away by train), to see my friend Alicia and her family. We had a good time. I went into London each day of my stay, somewhat unexpectedly. The first time was to see some cousins, who I'd discovered were in town. One of them (my first cousin once removed) had just had heart surgery. Apparently he'd had a heart defect since he was born. Now he's in his early 30's and it was time to do something about it. His aunt (my first cousin) was there to help take care of him and his sister arrived when I was there--we all had dinner together. He was up and about when I arrived, but still weaker than normal and not allowed to carry heavy things. He also got tired pretty quickly. His father, both sisters, an uncle, and girlfriend, had been around at different times to help and keep him company. His mother actully died about six years ago--when I was living in Paris. Her death is still something of a mystery--she had a bad stomach ache, when to bed, and never woke up--but unrelated to the heart thing. Anyway, that's why she wasn't there. I have to say, this kind of situation is when you really need your mother, but at least he had all of the other family around to watch over him. Of course, I wanted to see him too, though I think it had been about 18 (!) years since we last met. I saw them more often when they were really little--summers in California--and at least a couple of times when the family lived in Oregon and I was in Seattle. But they moved to Missouri, I stopped going to California as often, and we didn't see each other unless there were a major family gathering. Anyway, it was good to see all of them and do a mini-cousin reunion in London. I sure didn't expect that!

The next day, I went to town again on my own to see a knitwear exhibit at the Fashion and Textile Museum. See my illegal picture below. The exhibit was pretty interesting--but I don't know how it would've been for a non-knitter. The weather wasn't too terrible, just a bit cloudy.



Instead of wandering far, I stayed in the neighborhood near the museum for a coffee and stopped in some of the shops, but didn't buy anything. I walked a couple of miles to the train from there (Bermondsy to Waterloo) and saw some interesting buildings.


Unlike many other historic European cities, London isn't moribund. New buildings are popping up all over the place. Many are innovative and attractive, making the city vibrant without ruining the historic aspects. It's no Paris--but that's a good thing. 



Don't even get me started on Jerusalem. Dad hates it and I agree--everything there looks the same, built out of "Jerusalem stone" and everything is very low. But it is a "holy city" so in something of a different class. Paris has no excuse. In fact, that's one of the reasons I like the 13th--it has a good mix of "ancient" and "modern" buildings. I enjoy the contrast.

I headed to Paris a few days ago. My visit was too short. I started to get a cold on my last day, so didn't wander as much as I planned. I still walked quite a lot, though. As usual I stayed in my old neighborhood, and was able to go to the local market on Tuesday morning. I also went on a guided "yarn" tour. I didn't mean to buy anything...but I did.
 

What you see here is some self-striping yarn on the left, mystery yarn in the middle, and a cone on the right. The front row is some ribbon to line a button band, snaps (totally easy to buy in the states!), and a little tin from Sajou with tiny bobbins of thread, and finally some tapestry needles (for weaving yarn ends, was my thought). The tin--hard to see from this pic--has a picture of a dog and cat working together to wind a ball of yarn--I coudn't resist. As usual, I brought a couple of knitting projects with me on this trip--but I also brought some spare yarn and needles to use for knitting lessons if any niece/nephew or great-niece/nephew is interested in a lesson. The mystery yarn is also for the lessons, but I like the colors enough to take it home and use it for something if I don't get any takers for knitting instruction.

I still love Paris and being there makes me happy. How can it be that it feels a bit like a second home? I feel similarly about New York. Here's the view from the balcony of the sweet little apartment I rented:


It was so perfect! I would definitely stay there again.
And now I'm on my way to Israel, which is the motivation for this trip--Dad and Susan were going over Hanukah and I decided to tag along. I knitted three hedgehogs in advance, for the three newest members of what I'm calling the "Israeli next generation." Dad and Susan are already there. I'm a little worried about Susan. She seems periodically confused. She won't let Dad drive in Israel anymore (not a bad call), but seemed to think that we'd discussed me renting a car and, presumably, doing all the driving. The main problem with this is I have zero recollection of the conversation. Secondarily, I also hate driving there. But it may make sense and I'm willing to do it. Still, what is going on with her exactly? Then again, maybe I'm the one losing my mind. 
First day, I'll spend with Spesh in Tel Aviv. Then on to Jerusalem either by car or by bus or train. I'll be there for nearly a week, and then spent the last couple of days back in Tel Aviv. I'll be there for Christmas. I have to say, I'm mighty curious to see what Israel will be like at this time of year. I've been there in December before, but not so near to X-mas day (or not that I can recall). Will there be any decorations? Will everything be open on the 25th? I kind of hope so. 
Not sure if I'll write again this trip...but it would be good to get some pics up with the hedgehogs and their recipients, woudln't it? 
For those of you still with me, thanks for tuning in. Big smile!
Grateful for: the resources to travel.